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Help!! Destructive Dog! Unique situation rescue

369 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  mustluvdogs66
We adopted a Tibetan Mastiff/Belgian Malinois mix. Her father was a very dominant dog and would pin/attack them as soon as they could walk. She was locked in a kennel with her dad for months. She couldn’t even lift her head for fear of being attacked. We have her inside and when we first got her she was afraid to come out of her crate. It took us 7 hrs to get her inside and we ended up having to carry her in. She started coming out of her crate while I was out of the room and now will come out while I’m in the room but she will only go into the corner by her crate. To get her out of the house for vet visits is really stressful on her and we literally end up dragging her out. She thrashes around getting her out of the room. Our vet gave us sedatives for the last visit but it only helped a bit. She is still very timid but docile. I have to spend my days and nights in the same room but she sees me as an authoritarian and is scared to make a wrong move with me. While my sister who can take her time with approaching her she plays with, my mom lands somewhere in the middle where she will approach her in the crate. With me she licks her lips and crouches in the corner or makes quick dashes. While I can get her to obey better I don’t want her to be afraid of me. My sister is more of her friend and instead of obeying she plays. We want to get her into obedience training but she is so scared to come out and she has to be able to walk her on a lush without pulling to get her into the training place we want, which trains police and military dogs, because of the Belgian Malinois in her. Right now we drag her around. Also because she doesn’t get much exercise she chews everything. We just got her spayed and she is on her third e-collar as she chewed up the inflatable ones. We have her in a cone now so fingers crossed. But we don’t know how to get her to stop chewing. She knocked down her screw up crate bowl and chewed up the connector. We have puzzles for her but can’t Leave them unsupervised with them because she will chew them up! She is a hard chewer so we are very limited on what we can get her as far as toys! We are planning to move halfway across country in a little over a month and she is just warming up so slow. Should we continue to let her take her time with things or rush her and make her see things can be safe. I think she’s afraid of going back to her old conditions and that’s why she fights. But if we let her out back to run we’re afraid she will feel like she is supposed to be back home next door and try to get back like she did the first day we got her & I don’t think they will take her back. Her mom was aggressive with them too but not as much as the father and not now with her last litter. She will be 2 in November. Their owner is trying to find homes for the mom and dad and three younger puppies. I will post there in that tread too. I think with training even the dad could be good. None of them have had training. But I just feel like there’s more we can do for her! She was also dominated by small breed dogs her whole life so she won’t attack but I just know with the Malinois she has to be going crazy but also just grateful to stand up, walk, eat, sleep, and drink without being attacked. Any advice would be appreciated. Her parents and her seem to be the Malinois size rather that Mastiff! However I read the first time I looked it up that Mastiffs can take up to 5 years to grow but now sites say 2 years.🤪
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I would not rush her. It seems like the logic would be that if you can show her that scary things don't harm her that she would become more confident - but if she is terrified during that process, that is what she will remember, so more likely than not her fear will compound.

It sounds like her parents may have had some issues so genetically she may be struggling, and then months of trauma - especially at a very early age - will have compounded that. My dog was like that, except I got him at 8 weeks so I suppose I had some advantage. He bonded to me very quickly, but I lived at home at the time (finishing grad school) and he refused to interact with anyone else in the family. He would hide. If they tried to get to him, he would growl. It took months before he started to warm up to them.

Personally, I would table obedience training and the idea of getting her to obey right now, and just try to make her feel safe. Ask as little of her as possible and reward her for every success. For most puppies that would be like throwing a treat party, but since she is so afraid I would start with just dropping treats around her and then near her, and work up to interacting more.

For toys, I've found that the stronger rubber toys hold up a bit better, but if she's a strong chewer, you may be replacing almost anything fairly frequently. My dog likes to chew when he's stressed, so it's probably the same for her.

Eventually as she starts to come around you can probably look into starting more formal training, but she's been put at a major disadvantage here and may well never be "normal".
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I don't think you mentioned how long you have had this dog, but I would urge extreme patience.

Even dogs rescued from a better situation can take weeks or months to feel comfortable in a new home.

Oliver, the black dog on my signature, came to us in July 2022. It was a least a month before we could touch him at all. Getting a collar on him was an epic struggle. He was interested in our previous rescue, but not so much in us. Now, he is, in some ways, the most affectionate of the three. He loves he belly rubs and ear scratches.

You'll get there but it may take a long time and a lot of patience. Don't push things.
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I would also not rush her. Rushing her and forcing her into uncomfortable situations will cause her to shut down (or lash out, but it sounds like she's more likely to shut down), and then your job will be even harder and longer. I understand there might not be choice when it comes to vet visits, but try to minimize traumatic experiences for her.

If she has an issue with chewing, make sure she has plenty of appropriate chew toys that she can use. I wouldn't have a cone or e-collar on a dog for chewing. Dogs naturally chew. They need to chew. Chewing is calming to them, so preventing her from doing so is detrimental. Try Nylabones. They are meant to have the crap chewed out of them and come away in tiny rice sized pieces that will pass through their system if swallowed. Stuff and freeze Kongs for her to work on.

I would also not focus on obedience, but rather teaching her that people are okay. Playing with her like your sister is doing will help her come out of her shell. Manage her environment so that she cannot practice inappropriate behaviors for now, and then once she has learned that people are good, you can begin teaching cues.

I do not think this dog is a candidate for military and police style dog training. That is not a type of training for timid dogs. You'll likely see the best results with her using a positive reinforcement trainer.
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I agree with others but also want to add to stop thinking about "the malinois" on her.

Malinois are high energy dogs and that energy coupled with confidence is the demon spawn police dog taking down a bad guy. That said Malinois also have a tendency to be handler sensitive.

Couple that with Mastiff, many of which are fearful (not supposed to be but they are)...

If you mix drive and sensitivity with nerve and the fearfulness you have a genetic temperament mess.

This is not going to be an easy trip with this dog. Patience and time may fix a lot..
...or not.

Stern obedience will just make things worse.
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I would not rush her. It seems like the logic would be that if you can show her that scary things don't harm her that she would become more confident - but if she is terrified during that process, that is what she will remember, so more likely than not her fear will compound.

It sounds like her parents may have had some issues so genetically she may be struggling, and then months of trauma - especially at a very early age - will have compounded that. My dog was like that, except I got him at 8 weeks so I suppose I had some advantage. He bonded to me very quickly, but I lived at home at the time (finishing grad school) and he refused to interact with anyone else in the family. He would hide. If they tried to get to him, he would growl. It took months before he started to warm up to them.

Personally, I would table obedience training and the idea of getting her to obey right now, and just try to make her feel safe. Ask as little of her as possible and reward her for every success. For most puppies that would be like throwing a treat party, but since she is so afraid I would start with just dropping treats around her and then near her, and work up to interacting more.

For toys, I've found that the stronger rubber toys hold up a bit better, but if she's a strong chewer, you may be replacing almost anything fairly frequently. My dog likes to chew when he's stressed, so it's probably the same for her.

Eventually as she starts to come around you can probably look into starting more formal training, but she's been put at a major disadvantage here and may well never be "normal".
Thank you! I figured it wasn’t ok to push her but I wasn’t sure. Treats aren’t so easy for training as she will not eat them for awhile if at all. I guess it’s a step by step process one moment at a time.
I agree with others but also want to add to stop thinking about "the malinois" on her.

Malinois are high energy dogs and that energy coupled with confidence is the demon spawn police dog taking down a bad guy. That said Malinois also have a tendency to be handler sensitive.

Couple that with Mastiff, many of which are fearful (not supposed to be but they are)...

If you mix drive and sensitivity with nerve and the fearfulness you have a genetic temperament mess.

This is not going to be an easy trip with this dog. Patience and time may fix a lot..
...or not.

Stern obedience will just make things worse.
Thank you! I was just worried she would go crazy with not much to do!
I would also not rush her. Rushing her and forcing her into uncomfortable situations will cause her to shut down (or lash out, but it sounds like she's more likely to shut down), and then your job will be even harder and longer. I understand there might not be choice when it comes to vet visits, but try to minimize traumatic experiences for her.

If she has an issue with chewing, make sure she has plenty of appropriate chew toys that she can use. I wouldn't have a cone or e-collar on a dog for chewing. Dogs naturally chew. They need to chew. Chewing is calming to them, so preventing her from doing so is detrimental. Try Nylabones. They are meant to have the crap chewed out of them and come away in tiny rice sized pieces that will pass through their system if swallowed. Stuff and freeze Kongs for her to work on.

I would also not focus on obedience, but rather teaching her that people are okay. Playing with her like your sister is doing will help her come out of her shell. Manage her environment so that she cannot practice inappropriate behaviors for now, and then once she has learned that people are good, you can begin teaching cues.

I do not think this dog is a candidate for military and police style dog training. That is not a type of training for timid dogs. You'll likely see the best results with her using a positive reinforcement trainer.
Thank you! Right now we just have an e-collar on her for her spay. She should be out of it in a couple days. We were planning on maybe trying anti chew spray with her and see if that helps.
I don't think you mentioned how long you have had this dog, but I would urge extreme patience.

Even dogs rescued from a better situation can take weeks or months to feel comfortable in a new home.

Oliver, the black dog on my signature, came to us in July 2021. It was a least a month before we could touch him at all. Getting a collar on him was an epic struggle. He was interested in our previous rescue, but not so much in us. Now, he is, in some ways, the most affectionate of the three. He loves he belly rubs and ear scratches.

You'll get there but it may take a long time and a lot of patience. Don't push things.
We’ve had her for about 2 months now. Thanks for the advice!
Definitely take it slow. I would highly advise staying away from the police dog training. Most of those types of places are outdated forceful training methods and with her fears she will shut down or get worse.
Is she almost 2 years or her mother? It sounds like awful breeding. That is so sad.
I don’t know how much longer she needs the cone, but if it’s a while, look into surgical suits (like a onesie for a dog).
I would also look for a private trainer that strictly uses positive reinforcement. You may even need a behaviorist and possibly anxiety meds. She may not take treats due to her fears. Once she feels safe she will be able to accept treats. Have you tried many options? Boiled chicken? Peanut butter?
You can still give her brain a workout without joining a class. Puzzles are great and should be picked up immediately. Maybe try teaching some tricks, like shake or spin, in a very low key manner. Hide her food or toys around the house for fun. Don’t worry about sit, down, stay until you gain her trust.
Best of luck to you.
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